A. Dharmaraj vs The Chief Educational Officer, Pudukkottai

A. Dharmaraj vs The Chief Educational Officer,  Pudukkottai

[REPORTABLE]
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
Civil Appeal No.1301 of 2022
A. Dharmaraj           ..Appellant
Versus
The Chief Educational Officer, 
Pudukkottai & Ors.           ..Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T 
M. R. Shah, J.
1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned
Judgment   and   Order   dated   26.09.2019   passed   by   the
Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature at Madras at
Madurai  in Writ Appeal (MD) No.834 of 2018 by which the
Division Bench of the High Court had dismissed the said
appeal preferred by the appellant herein and has confirmed
the judgment and order passed by the learned Single Judge
quashing and setting aside the promotion of the appellant to
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the post of B.T. Assistant (English), the original appellant
before the High Court has preferred the present appeal. 
2. The appellant herein was promoted to the post of B.T.
Assistant   (English)   vide   order   of   promotion   dated
06.08.2016.   Prior thereto the appellant was granted the
permission   to   pursue   his   B.A.   (English)   under   distance
education during January, 2012 to December, 2014.   He
pursued   his   distance   education   in   B.A.   (English)   and
successfully completed the same in the month of December,
2014.   When the appellant was pursuing his education in
B.A.   (English),   the   appellant   was   granted   permission   to
pursue   M.A.   (Tamil)   which   was   a   two   year   distance
education course between the Academic Years 2013­2015.
He appeared in the examination for M.A. (Tamil) in May,
2014 and May, 2015 and successfully completed the same.
That thereafter the Respondent no.5 herein challenged the
promotion of the appellant and others vide Writ Petition No.
15019 of 2016 on the ground that by obtaining two degrees
simultenously the appellant has rendered himself ineligible
as the appellant did not fulfil the eligibility criteria.  Rule 14
was pressed into service which provided that "the teachers
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who have obtained B.A./B.Sc and B.Ed., during the same
academic year shall not be eligible for recommendations”.
The petition was opposed by the appellant and another.  It
was the case on behalf of the appellant before the learned
Single Judge that Rule 14 cannot be applicable to the facts
of the case on hand, as the appellant pursued B.A. (English)
and   M.A.   (Tamil)   in   different   academic   years.     It   was
submitted   that   only   in   a   case   where   B.A./B.Sc/B.Ed.
degrees are obtained in the same academic year the same is
not   permissible.     By   the   impugned   judgment   and   order
dated 23.03.2018, the learned Single Judge allowed the said
writ petition and set aside the promotion of the appellant to
the post of B.T. Assistant (English).
2.1 The   appellant   preferred   a   writ   appeal   before   the
Division   Bench   of   the   High   Court.     By   the   impugned
Judgment and Order, the High Court has dismissed the
said   appeal   and   has   not   interfered   with   the   impugned
judgment and order passed by the learned Single Judge,
setting aside the promotion of the appellant to the post of
B.T. Assistant (English).
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3. Though served nobody has appeared on behalf of the
contesting   respondents   more   particularly   original   writ
petitioners.
4. We have heard Shri P.S. Sridharraj, learned counsel
appearing on behalf of the appellant and Shri C. Solomon,
learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent –
State Authorities.
  
5. Having heard the learned counsel appearing on behalf
of the respective parties and on perusal of the judgment and
order passed by the learned Single Judge as well as the
Division   Bench,   it   appears   that   the   promotion   of   the
appellant to the post of B.T. Assistant (English) has been set
aside by the High Court on the ground that the appellant
obtained two degrees namely B.A. (English) and M.A. (Tamil)
simultaneously   and   therefore   as   per   Rule   14   he   was
ineligible for promotion.   However, considering Rule 14, it
can be seen that the bar was against teachers who have
obtained B.A./B.Sc./B.Ed degree simultaneously during the
same academic year.  In the present case it cannot be said
that the appellant obtained the degree of B.A. (English) and
M.A. (Tamil) during the same academic year.  The appellant
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pursued   his   B.A.   (English)   during   January,   2012   to
December, 2014.  He pursued his M.A. (Tamil) which was a
two years distance education course between the academic
years 2013­2014 to 2014­2015.  Therefore, as such Rule 14
is not applicable to the facts of the case on hand  stricto
senso.  The degree of M.A. (Tamil) cannot be equated with
B.A./B.Sc./B.Ed.  
5.1 Assuming that the subsequent degree obtained by the
appellant namely M.A. (Tamil) is ignored, in that case also,
considering his degree in B.A. (English) he could have been
promoted to the post of B.T. Assistant (English).  That both
the degrees secured by the appellant cannot be ignored. It is
not   in   dispute   that   the   degree   of   B.A.   (English)   was
sufficient as per the eligibility criteria for promotion to the
post of B.T. Assistant (English).
6. Under   the   circumstances   both,   the   learned   Single
Judge as well as the Division Bench of the High Court have
materially   erred   and   ignored   the   aforesaid   aspect   in
quashing the promotion of the appellant to the post of B.T.
Assistant (English).
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7. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above
the present appeal succeeds.  The impugned judgment and
order passed by the Division Bench of the High Court in
Writ Appeal (MD) No.834 of 2018 and also the judgment and
order passed by the learned Single Judge in Writ Petition
No.   15019   of   2016   are   hereby   quashed   and   set   aside.
Consequently, the writ petition before the learned Single
Judge stands dismissed.  The order of promotion promoting
the appellant to the post of B.T. Assistant (English) dated
06.08.2016 stands restored.
Present appeal is allowed accordingly.  However, there
is no order as to costs.
…………………………………J.
              (M. R. SHAH)
…………………………………J.
  (B. V. NAGARATHNA)
New Delhi, 
February 18, 2022.
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